Chris Lehman

Salem Correspondent

Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR affiliate WNIJ-FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.

Chris is a native of rural Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. He was born in the upstairs bedroom of his grandmother's house, and grew up in a 230-year-old log cabin in the woods. Chris traces his interest in journalism to his childhood, when his parents threatened to take away his newspaper if he didn’t do his chores.

In addition to working full time in public radio for the past decade, Chris has also reported from overseas on a freelance basis. He's filed stories from Iraq, Burkina Faso, El Salvador, Northern Ireland, Zimbabwe and Uganda. He lives in Salem with his wife and children.

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A 17-year-old student from Albany, Oregon appeared in court this afternoon Tuesday on charges of plotting to bomb his high school. On the first day back for students, the sign in front of the campus Tuesday says simply, “West Albany High School is family.” Tanner Whitley is a senior there.

Oregon lawmakers want to crack down on charities that use very little of the money they raise to actually help people. 

The Oregon House voted Monday to remove a statue of pioneer missionary Jason Lee from a prominent place in the U.S. Capitol. In its place they propose to put a statue of former Oregon Republican governor and U.S. Senator Mark Hatfield.

Each state gets two spots in the the U.S. Capitol's Statuary Hall. Supporters of the change say it's time to honor a more modern and prominent figure in Oregon's history.

Better-than-expected tax collections could trigger Oregon's unique kicker law, at least for corporations. The rebate is issued if revenues exceed initial projections by more than two percent. A newly released revenue forecast noted Thursday that business taxes have been robust enough to cross that threshold.

But state economist Mark McMullen says a final tally won't be made until later this year. "We believe that a kicker is better than a 50-50 shot. But not a sure thing. That came with a big surge in corporate taxes at the beginning of the year."

Oregon's economic outlook is looking brighter. That's according to state economists, who issued their quarterly revenue forecast Thursday. The news comes as lawmakers get ready to put together the state's next two-year spending plan.

The slow and steady improvement is still steady, just not quite as slow. The overall growth rate is still a bit behind past expansions, but state economist Mark McMullen says some of the factors holding back Oregon's economy are looking better, such as jobs and the housing market.

On the eve of a new state revenue forecast, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber is putting pressure on state lawmakers to reach a deal over taxes and public pensions. The Democrat proposed a compromise Wednesday aimed at pleasing Republicans and Democrats in the legislature.

The Oregon House Tuesday approved a measure to renew a tax paid by hospitals and long-term care facilities. The concept isn't controversial since the institutions that pay it are largely reimbursed by federal Medicaid dollars. But the vote became a skirmish in a larger political battle in Salem.

Oregon lawmakers are considering a measure that would make it easier for people who were adopted as children to access court records about their biological family. A House committee could vote to advance the measure Tuesday.

Oregon Senate Bill 623 is what is sometimes called a housekeeping bill. It's pretty boring, really. The measure clarifies who gets access to certain kinds of paperwork and how they go about getting it.

Teenagers will have a harder time getting an artificial tan under a bill that won final approval in the Oregon Senate Thursday. It requires teens under 18 to get a permission slip from a doctor if they want to use a tanning bed at a salon.

Supporters said there's an overwhelming link between skin cancer and artificial tans, especially among people who get them when they’re young. Opponents called it a “nanny state” measure and said teens would simply find other ways to tan.

Dead people and lottery winners are receiving food stamps and other public assistance benefits in Oregon. That's according to a new audit released Wednesday by the Oregon Secretary of State's office.

Some of the examples are eye-popping: One person hit a $900,000 lottery jackpot but kept on getting food stamps. State benefits flowed to more than 1,000 people who were reported dead by the Social Security Administration.